Inclusive Cycling

Inclusive Cycling is about letting anyone cycle, whatever their age or physical ability. The best way to explain it is Roger Knight’s story below, in his own words, that I think will move you – not by bike, but still about cycling, as published in the June 2024 edition of the Hayling Herald.

Roger is one of Cycle Hayling’s committee stalwarts, who rides everywhere to keep his health conditions at bay. Over to Roger …

I remember how my parents were always active adventurers—they travelled the world and had all sorts of amazing experiences. My father was a brilliant engineer, and always coming up with ideas – how many people build their own aeroplane?

Then a series of strokes completely shattered his life, akin to dementia. From fit and active, he suddenly became withdrawn, unable to walk, wheelchair bound. His condition made him drowsy, so he wasn’t safe with a mobility scooter. Even car rides would send him to sleep. We thought we’d lost him.

That’s when I tried one of Pompey Pedals’ specially adapted trikes – they have them for almost every ability and disability, and run sessions every weekday. And that completely changed everything. Overnight.  

Riding him around Portsmouth, he stayed alert and began recounting stories from his childhood during wartime. He pointed out areas destroyed by bombs and reminisced about life growing up in wartime Portsmouth. 

Pompey Pedals had to stop during lockdown, so we bought our own specially adapted cargo trike, which carried a passenger in a wheelchair at the front. Being outdoors on the trike kept up his social connections, replacing the clubs he used to attend. He would wave to passers-by and engage in distanced conversations, fostering a warm sense of community.

Witnessing this sudden transformation was absolutely remarkable, strengthening our bond and connecting us with those around us. Even in his final days, he cherished these rides. I really felt like I’d got my old dad back.

Following his passing, my mum’s own mobility declined due to arthritis, and now dementia, so we started to use the trike for her outings all across Portsmouth. We visit cafes, shops, enjoy leisure rides, and run errands together. Accessing the local GP surgery and St Mary’s Hospital is now stress-free compared to the challenges of using a car – the traffic congestion, the parking difficulties. With the trike, we arrive at our destination refreshed.

My mum says “I like being on it, because it feels as if I was actually cycling myself. I actually feel normal and not someone who has a disability. I like the reactions of children when they look at the trike fascinated. And that makes me feel good. People wave at you – I need to learn to wave back like a Queen!”.

I’ve seen firsthand how cycling boosts our physical and our mental well-being. But what really surprised me was how beneficial it is for dementia—it really seems to slow it down.

As a volunteer for Cycling Without Age on Hayling, we take residents of care homes out on specially adapted trishaws, and I notice the same calming effect. Care homes bring their residents to Pompey Pedals from as far away as Petersfield. Carers tell me they’re happier for several days afterwards, and easier to care for.

Roger on Cycling Without Age trike

Hayling must have hundreds of people with disabilities hidden away. We all know of friends or relatives, maybe even parents. Hidden away, because they’re usually not very mobile, so we rarely see them.

My ambition is to get them all mobile with inclusive cycling – a ’Hayling Pedals’ to match ‘Pompey Pedals’, based on the ’Cycling Without Age’ scheme, which is now established on Hayling, but is under threat. We can’t let it fail! Cycle Hayling is talking to the Council about finding a secure store for adapted trikes, which are bulkier than bikes, and a safe area to ride them, possibly around the southern end of the Billy Trail.  

Could you volunteer, as a rider, or help with bookings, or anything? Do you know a care home that would use it, or would help? It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life – join us!

Funding cuts

At last, we have a £700,000 plan to restore the Billy Trail to it’s full destiny, but that’s only the first stretch. We will need much more to finish the job.

But this disastrous government has suddenly slashed active travel funding by two-thirds with no warning, against all their strategies for active travel and health. How can councils plan like that? Continue reading “Funding cuts”


What’s a Cycle Bus??? A Cyclebus lets primary school children cycle to school safely, healthily, and sociably, in a bus-like formation, to protect them from traffic. It’s about community involvement – it’s organised by parents, grandparents, teachers, and volunteers.

See this a great video of how they started in Belfast!

But we’ve now got one of the first ones in England just a few miles away, organised by parents at Twyford.

Cyclists emerge from Church Lane, Twyford, as part of the Cycle Bus

Help cut pollution and traffic congestion around schools, and create a safe and healthy environment. Help empower children to become responsible and active and give them freedom, self-reliance and a lifelong love of cycling.

Bike Worcester even has this map of local CycleBuses! (And there are a lot, and many of them only ride one day a week). Watch their YouTube talk about it on Active Travel Cafe.

Find out how Cycle Buses work, and how to organise one!

And if you’re really adventurous, this is how the Dutch do Cycle Buses!

Come on parents and grandparents – why not on Hayling?!!!!

Donkey Derby, Hayling Island – 4th June

Hayling Island Lions are holding their annual Donkey Derby at Legion Rd, Hayling Island, PO11 9ES on Saturday 4th June from 1.00pm to 5.00pm. Included in this special ‘Jubilee’ fete will be a joint Cycle Hayling/Portsmouth CTC stall running our usual Turbo Challenge competition where using static bikes mounted on trainers, riders see how far they can pedal in one minute. Continue reading “Donkey Derby, Hayling Island – 4th June”

The politics of cycle infrastructure

Why is building cycle paths so hard? Why does it take so long? Is it the councils? Money? Lack of will? Too much regulation? After 9 years of Cycle Hayling, we’re finally building our own cycle path at Denhill Close (with council money), and we’re finding out the problems for ourselves. So who is responsible for building cycle paths? Everyone, and no-one. And that’s the problem. Continue reading “The politics of cycle infrastructure”

Portsmouth commits to 10% of transport budget on cycling

Portsmouth City Council has just voted to commit at least 10% of its local transport budget to cycling. It’s a real watershed moment.  Many of us cycle in Portsmouth. Being flat and a student city, it’s big on cycling and has pretty good cycle infrastructure (compared to Hayling, Havant and the surrounding area). But it’s also pretty big on accidents, so there’s lots more to do. It’s a tribute to the tireless campaigning of PompeyBug, the Bicycle User Group, also known as Portsmouth Cycle Forum. And to Cycling UK – our national team was heavily involved, so it’s great to see what our subscriptions help to pay for. If you want to see Havant and Hampshire commit to the same, just sign up here (it’s free!). More details at: . Well worth reading. Our local Cycling UK branch has many members in and around Portsmouth, (although we mostly ride from Havant). We’ll be holding the council to it, and making sure it leads to real improvements in cycling, not just a spinning class 🙂